Some locations have worse reputations than others like that Northern Californian carnivore cafeteria known as the Red Triangle or the Great White patrol zones of Australia, but sharks cruise the waters all around us. In fact, Florida has a much more ominous shark attack record statistically speaking. But although research has been extensive, few inventions have offered any real protection for surfers. Its just not practical to paddle out with a bang stick in your baggies or wear a metal mesh bodysuit, so how can we get some peace of mind while waiting for the next set wave?
The guys over at Shark Camo may have an idea. Falling into that Why didnt I think of that? category, Shark Camos products follow one basic concept. There are certain species of sea animals that are either distasteful or poisonous to sharks, and these creatures seem to have a similar skin color pattern. For example, both the lion fish and the sea snake are covered in black and white stripes which seem to repel sharks. Moreover, the newly discovered mimic octopus will even take on the form and color of these species when threatened by a shark. Here is where Shark Camo steps in.
Shark Camo offers large decals, laminates, and surfboards which contain these nature-inspired anti-shark patterns. Also available is a similar patterned lycra skin which offers protection from UV rays, jellyfish stings, and shark attacks. Since a shark can see prey up to 100 feet away, and its retina is particularly well equipped to discern spatial relationships and detect fine detail this product makes perfect sense. According to Shark Camo, tests show that their products will greatly reduce the chances of being the victim of a mistaken identity shark attack. They have given out decals throughout the world over the past five years and collected many testimonials supporting their products.
I placed a decal on the bottom of my own board. It was simple to apply since the company provides a handy tool to squeeze out the bubbles and make the decal stick soundly to the fiberglass. One thing that surprised me was that the decal looked very cool and added some funk to my bland board. I surfed a few sessions and the decal held firm. Ironically, I was not attacked by a shark during any of those sessions. Coincidence? Maybe... Maybe not. Only time will tell. While it is impossible for me to say whether or not Shark Camo is working for me, it does, however, make perfect sense, and I do enjoy the added confidence present with the thought of that shark deterring pattern on the bottom of my board.